José Carlos Pezini (Outreach) - December 2016 Update

Portuguese-Language Ministries Coordinator

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a very busy and stressful year of my ministry here in Brazil. SARA Ministries is growing so fast that it is almost impossible to respond to all the demands. The number of pastors who are being mentored is growing day by day. This year I have trained more pastors to be mentors, bringing the total to thirty-eight. Each one of these new pastor-mentors serves an average of five pastors. 

The demand is so great, however, that if we had fifty more mentors, we still would not be able to serve all who are asking for spiritual and personal mentoring. Let me give you an example of the critical need we are trying to address here in Brazil. Just this year three Lutheran pastors, one Presbyterian pastor and three Roman Catholic priests committed suicide. These numbers reveal a crisis among Brazilian pastors in terms of their spiritual, emotional, and psychological health.

Because of this great need, we have increased the number of retreats we are offering along with our mentoring. This year there were fourteen different retreats for our seven core groups around Brazil. Next year five new core groups will be formed. With each group of “mentees” attending two retreats per year, we will be adding another 10 retreats in 2017, bringing the total to 24.

In addition to individual mentoring and group retreats, SARA Ministries now offers a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation. It is a modular course with eight encounters over two years. 

Finally, through SARA ministries I serve as a consultant for church revitalization for various denominations. Altogether SARA Ministries is serving eight different denominations.

Apart from my primary work as Director of SARA Ministries, I continue to serve as adjunct staff of the non-denominational Center for Training Church Planters speaking at its annual conference and at special meetings throughout the year. I also serve the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil as liaison between the IPIB and The Outreach Foundation as well as by teaching in their Missionary Training Centers. I am grateful for their faithful support of my ministry in Brazil.

I would like to conclude this update with the testimony of a pastor from Rio de Janeiro who has been part of our mentoring and retreat ministry since SARA began.

My name is Marcio Tenponi Pacheco. I have been a Presbyterian minister since 2004. When I was ordained as a pastor, I was sent to a church in crisis and in need of revival. I had no experience and no one to guide me as to how I might lead this church through its crisis. Guided only by my intuition, I made many mistakes and had some successes.

After eight years of ministry, I found myself frustrated and discouraged and contemplated leaving the ministry to work as a psychologist. I started to pray with my wife about these different feelings I was having. Then I met Pezini, and everything started to make sense in my life. Although I had told people about God, my knowledge of God was second-hand. It was like what Job said, “I had heard of Him by the hearing of the ear.” After meeting Pezini and experiencing the SARA Ministries, my life has changed. My eyes now are able to see the Lord. God incredibly transformed my life and ministry through Pezini’s life.

My biological father passed away when I was only 10 months old, I never had a father figure as a role model, but my Heavenly Father gave me the privilege to have another chance and have a father here on earth. I sincerely consider Pezini as my dad.

I have been enjoying the transformation that the Holy Ghost has done in my life. I left behind the thoughts of leaving the ministry, and I can say that I love being a pastor once again. In spite of several challenges which I face each day, I am also more in love each day with Jesus, and I am more joyful because He has chosen me as pastor.

To the Lord all the glory for he has done tremendous things!

In Christ,

Curitiba, Brazil

Read more about Pezini's ministry by clicking HERE.

Outreach is seeking gifts totaling $95,000 for support and ministry funds for Pezini and $5,000 to defray costs of attending SARA retreats for those who cannot afford them.